BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte — Presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago toyed with the idea that her running mate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is the best person to succeed her potential position as president “if something happens to her.”
“If I am elected as president and something happens to me, we want somebody young and idealistic, as you have witnessed, to take over the reigns of government,” she said told Ilocanos in jest at the campaign launch here at the Imelda Cultural Center.
She mentioned the idea three more times later in her speech before the students of Mariano Marcos State University, the biggest campus in the Ilocos region.
The statement comes despite her claims that she has controlled her stage 4 lung cancer.
“Alam niyo naman palabiro si Senator Santiago,” Marcos would later explain to reporters at the end of the program at the university.
“I think it is just to say na may kumpiyansa siya sakin at maipagpapatuloy ko kung ano man ang kaniyang nasimulan,” he added.
Santiago’s speech before the students lasted for about 10 minutes, a few minutes longer than her campaign kickoff speech that was only about three minutes. Her voice trembled at some parts of her speech and was unlike the fiery senator she was known for.
Students were thrilled when Santiago cited her usual cheesy pick up lines that have endeared her to the younger generation.
At one point in the speech, Santiago also seemed to have taken a jab at her opponents but did not mention any names.
“Ngayon makikita mo sa elections natin kahit sino pwede tumakbo,” she said.
“Yung isa, daming scandals sa pagnanakaw ng pera,” Santiago said, but did not say if it was Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is thrown with corruption allegations.
“Meron isa hindi sigurado kung saan siya pinanganak,” Santiago said, which seemed to refer to Sen. Grace Poe who is being challenged about her citizenship.
Santiago skipped the Q and A portion with the students because she had other engagements according to Marcos.
She was also not with Marcos during the motorcade to Batac from Laoag Airport, nor the special mass before the campaign kickoff.
Kim Arveen Patria, media relations officer of Santiago, said that these activities were not part of the original schedule sent to the senator.
“These changes were finalized only yesterday. The senator chose to stick with her schedule,” he told INQUIRER.net.
Tuesday’s campaign launch was the first time that the tandem appeared together in public. They also flew together to Laoag City through a private plane that took off from Pasay City.